You have a tool to change the economic and political future of your community, the state, and the country. In your hands you hold the power to reward or punish officials who hold public office. Would you be willing to offer two hours of your life to use this tool? I say two hours because that’s all you need to do the following: learn about the candidates and go to the polls.

The first step is knowing who you are going to vote for. Very often I have met people who are enthusiastic about a candidate for a public office. When they go to the polls, they vote for that candidate, but they find on the ballot that there are 20 other public positions, questions about amendments, and approval of local bonds. Those voters stare at the screen for a long time and don’t know what to do, and at best leave blank spaces, thus wasting part of their rights.

As for national positions, in the next elections we will vote for legislators for each of North Carolina’s congressional districts. These legislators represent our state in Washington, DC. Currently, 10 of these 13 districts have a Republican representative.

For state offices, we will vote for members of the State Senate and the House of Representatives, in addition to a seat for the State Supreme Court. We will also be voting for three vacancies for the State Court of Appeals and for judges seeking a position in the courts of each county.

As far as local offices, counties such as Guilford, Union, and Wake will elect members of their respective school boards. In addition, each county will have different elections for positions such as sheriff, county commissioners, court clerks, and soil and water conservation supervisors, among others.

This election will ask voters to decide about six amendments to the state constitution, to which they can only vote yes or no. You can find in-depth explanations of each of these amendments in La Noticia.

There are various tools to help you learn about the candidates, from forums, to information published by serious media outlets such as La Noticia, to campaign meetings. Allow me to share a practical tool you can use to see an example of the voting ballot from the district where you live: visit the page:

Once you know the names of the candidates, you can visit their websites and social networks to find out what they think about the issues that most affect you, your family, and your community. To know the candidates for judges visit:

If you are not familiar with the electoral system, or if it is the first time that a member of your family is going to vote, it is very important that you learn a little about this. Invest just 30 minutes reading the North Carolina Board of Elections website, where you can find answers to your questions.

Finally, what remains is action. The early voting period runs from Thursday, to Saturday, , in numerous places (such as libraries) throughout the state. General elections will be held on Tuesday, .

Inaction is expensive. Historical, economic, and political examples abound. Voting produces change and builds roads and schools, but indifference produces nothing positive. In the words of drama critic and writer George Jean Nathan: Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote.

Diego Barahona A.

Periodista, editor, asesor, y presentador. De 2016 a 2019 el periodista más galardonado en Estados Unidos por los Premios José Martí. Autor del best seller: ¿Cómo leer a las personas?

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